Start With A Plan for Your Money in 2014

76857_10152103837187836_351996127_nLet this be the year that you start with a plan for your money.  Get with a qualified financial advisor and ask them to help you figure out how much of a nest egg you need to build in order to retire at your target age.  They will need to use your current assets and monthly income and spending as a baseline, but it shouldn’t take long to get a ballpark estimate of the amount you need to be on track to a comfortable retirement.  Then you can see what your annual savings goal needs to be for 2014.   And don’t get discouraged if you are not on track right now.  Heck, you might not even bear near the track right now because you haven’t looked in a long time, or you had some setbacks.  The important thing to to find out what steps it will take to get you straight.  Then take one at a time, then keep reviewing and course correcting until you get there.

Start with the plan.  Start with the end in mind.  Three questions you need to get answers on… How much do you need to put towards long term savings, earning long term investment rates (meaning 4% or better annual averages – even if you are scary conservative 🙂 in 2014?  How much do you need to increase your company 401k or 403b contribution level to in order to accomplish that?  And how should that money be invested to work best for you in 2014?

Get professional help to have a dialogue conversation about money so that you can learn about what is available for use today, what pitfalls to avoid, and what your financial indepdence number is for you personally.  Just talking with a friend who is always talking about money and “seems to know a lot” is not enough here.  You need someone to look at your specific situation and get some customized advice.  The consultation and conversation should not cost you anything.  If you don’t have a financial advisor, ask friends for referrals of professionals they use, or you can start with your local bank or credit union as most have licensed individuals in house.  Ask questions and get your numbers run so that you know what it takes to reach your goal.  Get information. Don’t fall for a product pitch – what you want is a solution.

What you focus on becomes larger in your life

Debt-FreedomWhat you give your focus to becomes larger in your life.  This is true for relationships, finances, health and anything else you can think of – both positive and negative.  If you give your attention and focus to your finances, you will find yourself looking for ways to improve the matter.  You will find yourself learning about money.  You will be more conscious of what things cost.  You will pay more attention to what you spend and how you spend it.

If you ignore money thinking that the problems will go away by themselves – you will create a bigger problem because you will neglect details that cost you money.  You will miss payments and be charged with late fees and increased interest rates.  What you ignore, atrophies, and weeds come in and choke out what little life there was in the matter.

Consider your finances a garden of your own making.  Right now it may be out of control, but you can take the time to weed out and uproot the things that destroy it (creating more debt, living above your means, ignoring financial lessons, pretending it doesn’t exist, trying to keep up appearances, failing to focus on how to make it better).  Decide to give your financial garden some livable boundaries, then spend time tending to it daily.

Apply your focus here, and you can make a difference in your financial life.  Take control of  your financial life.  Tell your money where to go before you get it in your hands.  Give your money an assignment and hold it accountable to work for you.

Money and Wisdom

If wisdom can be described as the ability to recognize consequences, then how would you rate your level of financial wisdom?  And if you self score on the lower level, then the next question is “Are you willing to do what it takes to improve matters?”  We can learn thru the observation of the successes and failures of others.  Or we can learn thru our own failures and missteps.  Which would you prefer?

Contentment

“Contentment, contrary to popular opinion is not being satisfied where you are. It is knowing God’s plan for your life, having the conviction to live it, and believing that God’s peace is greater than the world’s problems.”
– Larry Burkett

Do you have it? Are you living in a place of contentment? Or have you stopped dreaming of and working on a better tomorrow? Be honest with yourself.

Mid Year Check Point

Alright now, time to check in.  The first quarter of the year has come and gone, and the second quarter ends in just a couple of days.  Yes, June is here – welcome to the mid year mark.  Check back in now that the hoopla of a Happy New Year has worn off and reality has set in.  You had goals that you had set for yourself to make sure that 2013 is not a repeat of 2012.  I want to know how you are doing on them.  Do you remember what they were?  Did you write them down so that you can reference back and measure your own successes?  Do You know how you are doing on them?

 

Winners keep score because it helps you know where you are, how far you have come and how much improvement you have managed.  And no matter how good you think you are, there is still room for improvement and growth.  And no matter how bad you think you are, there is always someone worse off than you, and there is always a baby step you can take towards getting better.  Don’t give up on yourself or on the process.  It took you years to dig yourself into a financial hole, don’t get frustrated because you don’t come out overnight.  You come out one step at a time.  One decision at a time.

 

Your position in life today is the result of the decisions that you made in the past and the habits that you execute daily.  Make a new decision about your financial health and commit to your own success!  And no matter where you are in the process right now, remember to celebrate your self (celebrate that you now have the self awareness to want something better for your family’s financial future, celebrate that you have decided to do something about it, celebrate the progress you have made).

 

“How can that $ on the W2 be right?”

It is that time of year again – when W2’s are provided to show how much you have been paid for the year for all the work that you have done.  And it shows how much money has come through your hands.  If you are like most people, you look at it and think “how can that be right?”  You worked hard, but it just seems that the money went out faster than it came in.  If that was your reaction to your W2 again this year, let’s make a change for next year by planning ahead.  How can you change that?  It all starts with the decision to give your money a job to do before it arrives in your hands.  Money without a pre-planned strategy has a tendency to get away from you before you know it – wasted on quick trips to the store and gone in $20 and $30 and $100 increments – gone before you know it and spent on things that you won’t even remember a year from now.

Make 2013 different.  Start each month with a plan.  Tell your paychecks what they will do for you before payday even arrives.  Don’t worry about tackling the whole year.  Just start with one month at a time.  Then move forward with peace of mind.  Gain control of your finances One Bite Sized Piece At A Time.  You can do it!

What are you doing with first fruits?

Sunrise on the first Sunday of 2013

Sunrise on the first Sunday of 2013

This picture is the visual image of my morning drive to attend church on the first Sunday of 2013. Funny thing is that I overslept my alarm clock that morning and was rushing to get ready and left the house a little ticked at being late and starting off scattered. And that feeling lasted until I stopped looking at the inconveniences and looked up into the morning sky. I saw one of the most beautiful sunrises that stopped me in my tracks. The morning sunrise reminded me of God’s beauty and all the possibilities of new beginnings.  And as if that were not enough, when I got to church the message from the pulpit spoke of first fruits and giving back to God that which belongs to Him.

So here is the challenge I made to myself, and one that I now share with you. Today is your opportunity to commit (or recommit) to yourself that right now is the beginning of a new level of dedication to being a good steward of what you have been blessed with, and surely give the first fruits of blessings to Him. Be creative in your understanding of your blessings.  Some are financial, but they don’t stop there.  This is about more than money.  Some are spiritual. Some are physical. Some are natural talents. And others can be relational. So look in each of these areas to identify your blessings, and find a way to give back the best part of it as a dedicated gift to God (the One who blessed you with the gift in the first place).

Mal 3:10

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Love it! Great way to change your thinking and outlook for a new year! New beginnings! New decisions! New paths to walk! New joys to discover! It only happens when you are looking forward and not backward!

2012 Video Year in Review

2012 Video Flash

See the video attached by clicking the link above. It goes so fast, almost as quickly as 2012 passed by. The world is so much bigger than one person’s individual experience! Share in the triumphs of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Happy New Year! Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year!  Welcome 2013!

However you brought in the ringing of the new year last night, look up, it is a new day. The sun is shining and you are blessed to see another day and another new year. Yesterday is gone and forever done. Today is here and a new opportunity to walk in the purpose God has placed in your heart. Let’s make 2013 a year of purpose, a year of living out your passion and doing something meaningful. Think about it, what can you do to be a blessing to someone else today? Look for a way to make your creator smile!

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